936 pennies. It sounds like a lot if you are five years old and someone offers to give them to you. As a parent though, it’s a rapidly shrinking number representing the weeks you have to raise your child from birth to age eighteen. As someone whose child is about ready to graduate from college, I am all too aware of how quickly those pennies disappear. Oh, you are still blessed with some extra pennies when your adult child is on a break from school or your family vacations are taken together. Those bonus pennies are different though.
I was interested to see what this young mom had to write about her discovery of the meaning of those 936 pennies for each of her young sons. 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting by Eryn Lynum is a book designed to make you slow down and reflect. It’s not a list of how-to’s. It’s not filled with tips or great ideas. Yes, there are a few sprinkled here and there, but it seems the author is content to take a stroll with the reader reflecting on what intentional parenting is or perhaps should be.
Lynum breaks her book into ten larger sections – each containing several chapters. All of the themes revolve around examining some aspect of parenting in relation to time and those ever shrinking piles of 936 pennies. I loved one of the early sections on taking your kids into nature and helping them spend time learning about God by being in His creation. And I’m not even a nature girl. Yet, I fondly remember family hikes with our daughter when she was little – climbing “mountains” and going in search of water falls or rock hunting.
The other sections are just as heartfelt and reflect various aspects of spending time with our kids. Her insights are keen and show a wisdom not always found in young parents. Yet, I found myself wondering why she wrote this book now – when it appears her three boys are still really young. As with other young moms, had her need for something outside of her family caused this stress and exhaustion that seemed to be a theme running throughout the book.
While I applaud what she is doing, I kept wanting to tell her to let writing the books wait until her kids were much older. Those young moms then, will still need this wisdom and she will have more experience and can point to more examples. Her health is important and her boys need a mother who maybe isn’t quite as exhausted because she’s trying to do too much. I’m afraid in some ways the author needs to read her own book.
Don’t let that stop you from reading this book though. It’s is beautiful and thoughtful. It’s not a Bible study and really isn’t a how-to book on raising children to have strong faith foundations. It will, however, make you reflect on the gift of those 936 pennies and how you are spending them with your own kids. (Warning:The section on losing a child is heartbreaking, but hopefully helps moms who are walking that road.)
If you buy this book for no other reason, buy it for the section towards the end on screen time or as she puts it “reclaiming 205 pennies”! I absolutely love that image…are 205 weeks better spent watching screens or interacting with your kids in more meaningful and lasting ways? If that doesn’t wake you up as a parent regarding screen time, I don’t know that anything will.
Enjoy the book. Take lessons from the author’s wisdom. Just wait and write your own “books” until your kids are in high school or college if you possibly can. You may just find the journey not quite as exhausting and even more fulfilling than the author’s.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.